In the latest iOS 6 beta, customers no longer have to enter passwords when downloading free apps. This change, which was first uncovered by Cult of Mac, was clearly designed by Apple to make it easier for customers to download apps, but it could also prove dangerous depending on your situation.

In December 2010, just as iPad owners were enjoying their first holiday season with their new tablet, a new game arrived in the App Store. Called The Smurf’s Village, the freebie app quickly became popular with kids, but not for their unsuspecting parents. Soon, kids were buying $59.99 virtual wheelbarrows with real money without their parents’ permission.

Months later, with iOS 4.3, Apple implemented a new rule where all in-app purchases required entering a users’ Apple ID and password.

Look Mom, No Password

Now, a new controversy could be brewing, especially for parents that haven’t yet implemented iOS permissions.

In iOS 6 beta 3, you no longer need to enter a password when downloading free apps. This change follows another one recently implemented by Apple whereas you no longer need to enter passwords for previously purchased apps or updates.

As a parent of a five-year-old, this new rule won’t affect me. As someone “in the know,” I implemented parental controls on my iPhone and iPad a long time ago. Additionally, I added controls on my daughter’s iPod touch as well.

However, I also understand that not all parents understand the controls that Apple makes available to iOS users. Because of this, I’m concerned that some parents will inadvertently allow their children to download apps not appropriate for the under-17 set.

The Smurfs Village

The Smurfs Village

Here’s my advice for all parents concerned about Apple’s new feature: Go into your Settings app and go General > Restrictions and enable restrictions. From there, turn off the ability to download apps. By doing so, the App Store icon will no longer be available for little hands to click on. When you want to update or download new apps to your iPhone/iPod touch or iPad, simply turn this restriction off.

Do you find this suggestion too restrictive? You can also control which apps can be downloaded by rating. For example, if you want to limit app downloads to only those recommended for those aged 9 and below, do so.

Add Restrictions By App Rating

Add Restrictions By App Rating

Note: The no password feature in iOS 6 does not affect in-app purchases, which still require a password.

We hope parents find this report beneficial. For everyone else, enjoy no longer having to add passwords when downloading free, or previously purchased apps and/or updates.